Shi Brigade, Fifth Group, Imai: Actor Ichikawa Kuzô III as Imai Shirô Kanehira, from the series Flowers of Edo and Views of Famous Places (Edo no hana meishô-e)

「江戸の花名勝会 し 五番組」 「今井」 「今井四郎兼平 市川九蔵」(三代目)

Edo period
1863 (Bunkyû 3), 12th month
Artist Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III) (Japanese, 1786–1864), Other artist Torii Kiyokuni (Japanese), Other artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Japanese, 1839–1892)


Vertical ôban; 36.9 x 24.6 cm (14 1/2 x 9 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

Not On View


Asia, Prints and Drawings



Forms the left sheet of a triptych of kite-flying themes, with a continuous kite string.
MFA impressions:
Right sheet: 11.21821, 11.45146, 11.45396.14 (creped, in album)
Center sheet: 11.21822, 11.45147, 11.45396.15 (creped, in album)
Left sheet: 11.21411, 11.21823, 11.45152, 11.45396.16 (creped, in album)

The term “flowers of Edo” (Edo no hana) can refer, among other things, to fires. The title panel for each print in this series shows the lanterns and identifying standard (matoi) for one of the brigades of firefighters (hikeshi) assigned to various districts. On the west side of the Sumida River were 48 brigades named for the symbols of the kana syllabary and grouped into 8 numbered groups (1 to 10, minus the bad-luck numbers 4 and 7). On the east side of the river, brigades were numbered and assigned to directional groups. Outlying districts were covered by special brigades, here designated “extra” (bangai). Each title gives the name or number of a brigade, its group, and its district, followed by the kabuki scene chosen to match it.


Toyokuni ga, in toshidama cartouche (bottom left); Kiyokuni ga (top); Konomi ni ôjite Yoshitoshi hitsu (bottom right)
豊国画(年玉枠)、清国画、好需 よし年筆


Censor's seal: Boar 12 aratame
Blockcutter's mark: Uemura Hori Yasu


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911)

[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection